It’s always nice to be home, back to familiar sights and familiar food. I hail from Nottingham, which I will defend to the death. It may not be great, but look: everything from roads to half marathons is named after Robin Hood! Our obsession with a semi-fictional man who actually is more likely to have lived in Leicester is slightly overwhelming. We have other greats such as Torvil and Dean, Richard Whitehead, Vicky McClure… Well, maybe not the instant name recognition that we’d love. Are we North? We’re certainly not South. Let’s just stick to the Midlands. Nottingham is a place I love, and here are the foodie spots I return to every vac. 

First on the list is a Nottingham staple. It would be fair to describe it as the cultural heart of Nottingham, where you can find everyone from students to families to pensioners: The Broadway. The Broadway is a fiercely independent cinema, showing the major blockbusters as well as ‘festivals’ of specially curated features. The Broadway also has a brilliant bar and restaurant, along with an enviable mezzanine overlooking the pedestrianised street below. 

The Broadway offers a range of pizzas, burgers, sandwiches and – a personal favourite – burritos. I remember the first time I had the Broadway burrito: it was in the days of the specials board, before the renovation of the restaurant. (I have been coming here my whole life, such is its significance!) I had the bean burrito, and it came with a dollop of sour cream and topped with sweet jalapenos. Cutting into the burrito, it was full to bursting with beans and rice: no skimping here! I can only dream of my home-made burritos reaching such heights of flavour. 

Another favourite of The Broadway’s offering is the kimchi tater tots. These come piled high in a bowl, covered in sriracha, spring onions and black and white sesame seeds. Hot and crispy, with light, fluffy potato on the inside, they are the tater tots of which dreams are made. These warm and comforting treats are perfect on a dark winter night. 

Time for a home-grown success. If you’re from the East Midlands, you’ve hopefully heard of Annie’s Burger Shack. If you’re not from the East Midlands, Annie’s Burger Shack is exactly what it sounds like. It all started in a local Nottingham pub and has now expanded to a restaurant in Derby and a summer pop-up in Ruddington. When I say that the menu is expansive, I am not exaggerating. There are over 30 different burgers on offer at Annie’s, and each comes with either vegan, vegetarian or meat patties. That’s A LOT of burgers. Also, Annie’s gives you the choice of skinny fries, Cajun wedges or curly fries. I never say no to curly fries. 

In the past, I have had the ‘Greek’ (feta cheese, black olives), the ‘Kogumaza’ (peanut satay sauce, crispy onions) and the ‘Fajita’ (cheese, Tex-Mex onions and guacamole). The one that has always been on my list to try is the ‘Elvis’: named after the King of Rock and Roll himself, it combines peanut butter and jam on top of a burger. It’s been on the menu since the beginning of Annie’s all those years ago, so it must be good!

Nottingham might seem unassuming especially in terms of cuisine, but it has a lot to offer. If you ever find yourself in my hometown, make sure to check out these brilliant spots for a delicious meal!